Posted by: susanrmeyer | November 12, 2007

OnGrowing Challenge – My Own Red Shoes

In keeping with the juggling challenge, one of the things I really need help and support on is focus. Years ago, I read Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves (Ballantine Books, 1992).  She talks about passion using the fairy tale The Red Shoes as a basis for arguing that women should not be punished for seeking their red shoes with every ounce of their energy and passion.

For me, though, the issue was – and still is – sticking to my own passion – my own red shoes. Sometimes, it seems that everyone else’s dream becomes mine. Every new idea is wonderful. Every project deserves my support and attention. It’s rare that a call for support or assistance gets gently turned down. A friend described this phenomenon, upon watching three female companions distracted by every new store window, as “a bunch of chickens going after the sparklies.”

I have red shoes in my office to remind me to focus. And still …. Avoidance? Fear of success? Scanner behavior? I don’t know. I’m working to keep my list short, to set my intention every morning, to keep my commitments to my own work. I invite reminders, gentle and otherwise. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve already tagged most of my support team, so the list here is very short:

Loretta Donovan:

Ann Fry:



  1. Ah Susan, I wonder if this is just an eternal scanner issue. I know I struggle with it all the time. But I prefer not to see it as “going after the sparkles”, rather it’s the constant need to learn something new, do something new, create something new.

    The key may be (not sure yet) in piggybacking the new onto something that exists…so a new way of doing an ongoing project.

    In any event, keep dancing in those red shoes.

  2. Donna, you underscore the fine distinction that I’m challenged by. Exploring new worlds is exciting, challenging, exhilarating and just plain fun. Supporting others in pursuing their red shoes at the expense of grabbing one’s own and dancing on, however, can be a great way to avoid success. But then, I’ve always had a thing for tightrope walkers!

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